Spring weekends for women

In shopping towns and woodsy retreats, April and May are prime time for girlfriend getaways.

In spring, women's weekends pop up like daffodils.

Chalk it up to cabin fever women just want to get away. Or, perhaps more accurately, tourist-starved destinations want women to get away.

The Lake Michigan town of Holland is first out of the pack with Girlfriends Weekend in early March. The famous tulips won't be out, but hotels offer specials, and a package includes a breakfast buffet, champagne brunch, fashion shows, concerts, clinics and swag bags.

In the bluffs of northeast Iowa, Decorah holds Women's Weekend Out in early April.

At the doorway to the Door Peninsula, Sturgeon Bay offers Sassy Sisters Spring Women's Weekend in April, with classes, music and massage.

In Lake Geneva, Women's Weekend is in early May and includes spa and shopping specials as well as boat cruises and mansion tours at a discount. And there are lots of historic mansions to gawk at.

Near the northwoods Minnesota town of Ely, YMCA Camp du Nord offers a Women's and Mother/Daughter Spring Retreat at the end of April, with canoeing, hiking, yoga, massage and creative arts workshops. Register early. It also offers a May retreat for women over 50, Counting the Life in Your Years.

In eastern Minnesota, near Sandstone and the Willard Munger State Trail, Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, formerly the Audubon Center of the North Woods, holds Women's Wellness and Adventure Weekend in May, with bird-banding, yoga, guided hikes and a high-ropes course.

These places aren't the first to decide that spring is the best time for women to escape their humdrum lives.

If you can't get away, enjoy a vicarious girlfriend getaway by watching the 1992 movie "Enchanted April,'' in which four British women run off to Italy. It's based on a 1922 novel.

For more ideas, or to plan a weekend for another time of the year, see 50 great girlfriend getaways and 12 months of girlfriend getaways.

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